Edinburgh Fringe Festival: 6 Most Important Facts

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Edinburgh fringe festival
Photo by Jonathan Ricci on Unsplash

Edinburgh fringe festival is a major cultural and social event in Scotland, Europe. Many consider it the world’s biggest cultural event of art and culture. Many consider the Edinburgh festival fringe is only left behind in terms of crowd & performance after the Olympics and soccer world cup.

Scotland, part of the United Kingdom, is famous for its Natural Beauty & Lochs, Whiskey, Bagpipes & Melodies lively Music. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is one of the reasons why Scotland is still on the bucket list of many people. 

1. History Of Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The history of the Edinburgh festival fringe goes back to 1947; this year celebrated 75 years of the Edinburgh festival fringe.

In 1947, eight theatre groups participated in Edinburgh international festival, these groups were not part of the official programme of the International Festival, but the organisers didn’t stop these performers; they just performed and staged on the Fringe of the Festival from that onwards it’s named – the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

People from all over Europe come to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to see, perform and enjoy the art of all types, and it soon became an annual cultural event in Scotland.

Photo by Ross Sneddon on Unsplash

In 1959, the Edinburgh festival fringe society was formed, a non-profit charitable organisation. The background of this, along with time, the Edinburgh festival becomes popularly known as the Edinburgh festival fringe. Edinburgh festival fringe is to enrich & activate European cultural & art celebrations against the backdrop of the second world war. Along with time, the High festival, over 3000 articles from across the globe, perform all genres of arts & culture. The constitution of the Edinburgh festival fringe society guarantees the freedom of expression and no vetting of performances & it’s the essence of this Edinburgh festival. Anyone performers need not require prior permission.

2. Edinburgh Festival Fringe Time And Venues

Edinburgh fringe festival is an annual event; it’s a performing arts festival, where for three weeks in August every year, theatre companies from across the world come and make it the largest arts festival. Performers and artists perform all types of arts, cabaret, musicals, spoken word performances, opera shows, dance, children’s shows, street performances, be physical theatre, all at different venues in the city centre of Edinburgh & the old town of Edinburgh. 

It is a 25 days ( three weeks) fringe that takes place every year( From the 4th of August to the 28th of August); in 2022, it took place from the 4th of August 2022 to the 28th of August 2022. Due to the global pandemic, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival couldn’t be celebrated on a large scale. 

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

The venue is an entire city of Edinburgh, with hundreds of stages prepared for performers of all types and tastes of performance. The free fringe venue is more of a crowd attraction these days. 

Edinburgh festival fringe society structures the events, sets up the venues ( Big & Smaller venues), sets the free shows, and the box office for ticketing operates the Edinburgh fringe app and overlooks the Edinburgh festival fringe. All the required information can be found on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival society.

The Festival Fringe Society does not make or select any performances, does not invite anyone to perform and does not cover charges. Society is here to provide the support, guidance and resources necessary to perform your art and works as a facilitator. 

The society also ensures extensive coverage of the events in national newspapers. The Edinburgh Fringe box Office at 180 High Street Edinburgh, popularly known as the fringe box office or fringe office, sells tickets for ticketing events.

The performances are operated across more than one site. Some famous fringe venues are Assembly rooms, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance, and Underbelly. 

3. Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Performers & Events

Edinburgh festival fringe society allows all art performances without any prior screening. Some are free shows; some shows require advanced booking. In 2022 free fringe will take place without any COVID restrictions.

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Some official shows during the festival are comedy, dance, cabaret, physical theatre, musicals, opera, spoken word, children’s shows, circus, and so much more. There are more than 400 free shows that fall under different categories. 

Some of the shows are explained below.

Comedy

Comedy is one of the largest sections of the Fringe Festival. It is one of the most popular sections and attracts a huge crowd. Most youngsters are inclined towards this category of the event. You will surely have a stomach ache to laugh if you visit this event.

Street Shows

Fringe shows and street events are another major attraction; artists perform live on the street. The main purpose is to bring out new and raw talent in front of the audience and develop it. It is an open-access festival. Street events can divide mainly into four categories. The street shows are further divided into some categories. 

i. Mix

A mix of circus, street play, live music & stand-up comedy.

ii. Buskers

Mostly busker performers are magicians, singers & mimicry artists. You will find a lot of buskers on the streets during the time of the Fringe Festival every year. 

iii. Living Statutes

Another major attraction, with strange costumes and famous characters and performers, stands like a statue, and when you put a coin, these statues come to life and start performing for you. 

iv. Festival Vendors

Festival vendors are those performers who exchange their skills on receipt of donations; mostly, they are portrait artists, astrologers, palmists, and face readers.

v. Street Performer

Street performer mostly connects with the audience, some times they invite people from the crowd on stage to perform a magic trick.

“Pay What You Want” Shows

Pay what you want shows, where you purchase box office ticket sales in advance to guarantee entry. Half-price tickets and half-price huts are interesting concepts you will find here. 

A certain percentage of tickets sold at the venue box office means ticket sales. Many shows offer two tickets at one ticket price on the first Monday; half price hut is a promotional last-minute ticket sale.

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Several performers pull out a hat before you ask for a coin. As soon as you give them a coin or two, they will start entertaining you with their skills and talents. 

The Edinburgh festivals are all free, but performances and performers require registration and payment for using the fringe venue. Virgin Money (the official financial support branch of the virgin group) sponsors the Edinburgh festival fringe.

4. Royal Mile

Walking down the Royal mile is another attraction of the Edinburgh festival fringe. The royal mile is a street in the heart of old Edinburgh city. It has been the traditional parade route of united kingdom kings and queens for the last 500 years. Walking on the Royal mile in Edinburgh city will make you feel like a Royalist. 

5. Things To Know About Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It would be best if you kept some things in mind while visiting the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

1. Weather

The world’s biggest cultural festival happens every year in August. Edinburgh’s average temperature in August ranges between 18° / 11°, and rainfall is expected for 9-10 days, so it is better to be equipped to face the weather. Carrying umbrellas is always advisable.

2. Accommodation

Many people visit this place in August because of the Edinburgh festival fringe time; it is always better to book accommodations well in advance. Edinburgh people are very friendly so booking accommodations won’t be a problem. YOu can also do it online. 

3. Transport

Due to the fringe festival in August, streets are crowded in Edinburgh, so it is advisable to use public transport and avoid personal vehicles. Walking is the best way to reach short distances. While walking, you can see the real beauty of Edinburgh. Trams are also a better option on crowded roads.

4. Passenger Locator Form

If you are not a Britisher, don’t forget to fill passenger locator form at Airport/ Bus station. It’s very helpful during fringe festival time.

5. Digital Currency

Digital currency ( Cards/ Credit &Debit) is easily acceptable in Edinburgh, even on public transport. English pound & US$ are easily acceptable everywhere. During the fringe time, it is better to use digital currency.

6. Never Offend Local People

Never offend local people. During fringe, people are in high spirits and always friendly with localities. English is spoken, but the accent may be different; it is better to understand what they are trying to say before replying. Edinburgh is a safe city, but visitors are advised to be extra cautious during the fringe.

7. Travel Plan

Fringe festival venues are at different-different places; plan your travel in such a way that you can reach your venues in time. The fringe society website can be useful in this case. 

8. Food

Food is not a problem during the fringe; many street food stalls are there, from Indian food to Canadian to Continental. Getting vegetarian food is a little problem; street tap water is safe to drink. Food stalls and bars are in plenty of numbers at venues.

9. Planning

Planning is important, but unplanned and random things will give you more pleasure during the Fringe Festival. The fringe is a festival of free feelings and uses most free shows; free previews are also available online & on social media. 

10. Show Selection

More than 300 Shows are at scattered venues, most of which are free; start with Royal mile street; assembly rooms, underbelly, and pleasance are big venues.

11. Punctuality

Always try to be on time for shows; better to be a little early. It is because getting a seat in free shows is a challenge.

12. Balancing

Balancing the fringe is very important, both physically and mentally. Watching too many shows can also be very exhausting. Make sure that you select the show that interests you the most. 

13. Patience

In August, because of the Fringe, Edinburgh is very crowded, have patience in queues, wait for food, and wait for public transport.

6. Support The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh festival fringe society is a non-profitable organisation which runs on donations and sponsorship.

Artists formed the Fringe Society to nurture and keep alive the fringe’s values of inclusive performance, new cultural experimentation and imagination and a free platform for new artists across the globe.

You can support the fringe by donating to the society, providing business sponsorship to the events, providing advice and volunteering for arrangements.

Conclusion

Edinburgh festival fringe, organised by the festival fringe society, is worth visiting and witnessing the biggest cultural show on the planet. Free atmosphere, great cultural exchange opportunities, free and fair art performers of different genres, it’s all in one place. Different groups like the Teachers’ Theatre Club and school clubs are there to help you learn.

If you want to visit this place, this article can guide you. Make sure to enjoy yourself to the fullest at the Fringe Festival.

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